By: Sean Crose
“Why don’t you go fight a fucking boxer?”
That’s the question UFC honcho Dana White has for the Jake Paul’s of the world after Paul knocked out former UFC notable Ben Askren in the first round of their cruiserweight battle last Saturday. The fight appears to have been a huge pay per view event and has raised questions as to Paul’s choice of opponents – for the social media star turned highly lucrative boxer has yet to meet a fellow boxer in the ring. Paul has so far beaten a fellow social media influencer, a former NBA player, and Askren. Although Paul has talent, White feels the man is picking the wrong targets.
“What the fuck do these guys keep talking to UFC guys for?” White asked during an interview with Yahoo. “I’m gonna have to slap them with another fucking legal letter, these fucking idiots. Go talk to fucking boxers. What are you doing?” It’s worth noting that White didn’t mention Paul specifically here. That may be because any number of boxers and MMA fighters seem to wish to meet in the ring. It all started with Conor McGregor fighting Floyd Mayweather in an insanely successful 2017 novelty bout. Since that time, the trend only seems to have picked up steam.
There’s reasons for this, of course. Popular boxers tend to make more money than MMA stars – a lot more. What’s more, a sense of mutual disrespect may be at play. Experienced boxers are apt to see mixed martial artists as easy money in the squared circle. Likewise, there’s a belief among some that mixed martial artists are “real” fighters who can “educate” pro boxers as to what a true combat sport athlete actually is. McGregor and Paul may have been the ones who have gotten an education so far – but even then, each man was well rewarded for his efforts. Besides, how shameful could it possibly be for a mixed martial artist to lose to a pro boxer on the boxer’s own turf?
White, however, appears to be fed up with all of it. With Daniel Cormier – a highly decorated UFC fighter who is reportedly retired, but still under contract – being called out by Paul as a possible opponent, the UFC boss went out of his way to make his thoughts clear (for the record, Cormier seems to think the idea of fighting Paul is ridiculous). With lots of money apparently at stake all around, however, that legal letter White talked about may have to be quite strongly worded.